THE CHINESE PEOPLE 21 Enormous is the earth, And the sky is a deep blue; The wind blows, the tall grass bends, And the sheep and cattle come into view. It was with this song that a northern general, after suffering a heavy defeat, rallied his soldiers and sent them again to battle. And in contrast to the southern songs of love, we have a general singing about a newly bought broadsword: I have just bought me a five-foot knife, I swing it with a gleaming cadence. I fondle it three times a clay, I won't change it for fifteen maidens! Another song handed down to us reads: In the distance I descry the Mengchin river, The willows and poplars stand in silent grace. I am a Mongol's son. And don't know Chinese lays. A good rider requires a swift horse, And a swift horse requires a good rider. When it clatters off amidst a cloud of dust, You know then who wins and who's the outsider.1 Lines like these open up a vista of speculation as to the diflferences of northern and southern blood that went into the make-up of the Chinese race, and seem to make it possible to understand how a nation subjected to two thousand years of kowtowing and indoor living and a civilization without popular sports could avoid the fate of civic racial degeneration that overtook Egypt, Greece and Rome and the other ancient civilizations. How has China done it? 1 These songs are quoted by Dr. Hu Shih in support of the same thesis.